I’ve already counted down my favourite YA standalones and series, so it only seems fitting to count down those that have been made into films. Most successful YA authors usually sell the rights to their books pretty quickly, but some get shelved for years before production gets underway. Having said that, the popularity of adapting YA has increased in the recent years. Some we can see why, and some we probably wished had stayed shelved.
It would be very easy to examine which films were closely adapted from page to screen, but using that template sometimes doesn’t always make a good film. I’ll be trying to take into account not only the “adapting” part of the film process, but also what makes the end product a great film in it’s own right.
I’m also deciding not to include the Harry Potter films in this list because they would take up eight of the ten! Don’t forget, I’ll only include films I’ve seen and can vouch for.
These are the books that have gone from page to screen, counting down from ten to one.
How I Live Now
An American girl, sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives, finds love and purpose while fighting for her survival as war envelops the world around her. – from IMDb
As with most adaptations, a lot from the book gets lost/cut in the translation. Osbert was written out, and a certain character death was added in, but these are small prices to pay for seeing our beloved books getting worldwide success. How I Live Now is an excellent film, and a brilliant re-imagining of the original.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance. – from IMDb
As I said in my 2015 film wrap up, I had a few issues with the final Hunger Games film. In my opinion, the film was too closely adapted from the book (which I wasn’t a fan of), and a lot of things didn’t make sense. Having said that, it was a brilliant action movie and good installment to a fantastic series!
Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side. – from IMDb
Once again, as I said in my 2015 film wrap up, Insurgent was a difficult book to adapt. It’s so fast paced which allows the reader to fly through the narrative, but on film can look messy. A lot of changes were made to try and accommodate the nature of the book. Some say it worked, some disagree. For me, it was still pretty exciting to see my favourite book from the series be adapted into film.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Katniss Everdeen is in District 13 after she shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage. – from IMDb
For some, this may be the least popular Hunger Games film, but for me it perfectly captures the calm before the storm. Katniss spends a lot of time underground with District 13, and for me this is where the real revolution begins and we see Katniss, not only have a personal journey, but also she her turn from tribute to victory to Mockingjay!
After an all night adventure, Quentin’s life-long crush, Margo, disappears, leaving behind clues that Quentin and his friends follow on the journey of a lifetime. – from IMDb
Another one I’m repeating from my 2015 wrap up is Paper Towns, John Green’s second venture into the world of cinema. I really enjoyed the adaptation, and I loved that the production decided to stay true to the themes of the book and not give into Hollywood. Bravo! The chemistry between all the actors and actresses that worked on the film really made it special to watch.
And now for my top five:
The Hunger Games
Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death. – from IMDb
Yes, the original Hunger Games movie starts off the top five with a bang. It’s a wonderful adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s book, who puts Katniss in the arena for the first time to fight for her life.
The Fault in Our Stars
Two teenage cancer patients begin a life-affirming journey to visit a reclusive author in Amsterdam. – from IMDb
The first John Green adaptation that got the ball rolling for Paper Towns. I don’t think this film could have been more perfect, the casting, the narrative, the soundtrack, everything. I came away feeling incredibly satisfied.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem. – from IMDb
I know what you must be thinking. Why is the second Hunger Games movie higher than the first? For me, Catching Fire is the best Hunger Games movie. I know it draws similarities from the first film, as we see Katniss and the gang go back into the arena, but for me, everything was bigger and better.
In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late. – from IMDb
When Divergent dropped, many people wrote it off as a Hunger Games Wannabe, but after the movie was made, it established Roth’s faction-based dystopia in it’s own right. I absolutely loved the book and film version of Divergent, and the adaptation between the two was seamless.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world. – from IMDb
Perks is my number one book to movie adaptations. I’m not sure whether it’s because Stephen Chbosky wrote the book and the screenplay, or if it’s because Charlie’s story is one that touches us all right in the feels. But there’s something about this book/film combo that speaks to all the wallflowers inside of us.
And that concludes my top ten list of young adult book to movie adaptations. Do you agree? Have I left any off the list you would consider worthy of a title? Let me know down in the comments.